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Sony joins the Android Wear ranks with underwhelming SmartWatch 3

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Android

In March, Sony said it'd stick to its own smartwatch software in lieu of joining the Android Wear party with the likes of LG, Motorola, and Samsung. Today, Sony's completely reversing that stance with the introduction of SmartWatch 3, its fifth-generation smartwatch, which has completely embraced Google's Android Wear platform. Sony intends to add a Walkman app for music playback via a Bluetooth headset along with a remote control app for stuff you're playing on another device. Don't look for much more to distinguish this device on the software front.

In terms of design, the SmartWatch 3 leans toward a sporty look and seems to prioritize ruggedness with a steel-backed case, interchangeable silicon straps, and an IP68 waterproof rating. This makes it feel rather bulky and unrefined in the hand or on the wrist. The 1.6-inch transflective LCD display is also not particularly bright or impressive, making for a disappointing first impression — particularly when compared against the Moto 360 or LG's G Watch R, which place their emphasis on classic watch style and good looks.

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With Galaxy Note 4 launch, Samsung aims to pre-empt Apple, claim innovation mantle

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Android

Samsung on Wednesday launched its Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, a curved screen phablet, and Gear VR, a virtual reality headset, but the larger mission for the electronics giant was to claim ownership of large screen mobile devices and to position itself as an innovation leader.

The timing of the launch event, held at the IFA conference in Berlin and New York, was hard to ignore with Apple's iPhone 6 debut next week. Samsung was clearly trying to claim the innovation mantle as Apple finally gets around to offering a larger screen iPhone.

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Asus ZenWatch flaunts its stylish metal body and curved screen (pictures)

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Android
Gadgets

The Asus ZenWatch is the first smartwatch using Android Wear -- Google's operating system designed specifically for watches.

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HTC’s Nexus tablet to come with folio style case

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Android

Over the last few months there has been massive speculation in regard to the future of the Nexus range. Some rumours highly suggest Motorola will be making the Nexus 6 (codename Shamu) while other rumours highly anticipate the Nexus 8 will be manufactured by HTC (codenames Flounder/Volantis). Of the two rumours it would seem that HTC and the Nexus 8 are a likely pairing and this was further suggested by the leaked information of the accessories to come with the Nexus 8.

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Also: Android Wear will get smarter says Google

And: Five must-have apps for Android Wear

Top 5 Essential Android Wear Apps

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Android
Software

So you've just picked up an Android Wear device, but what the heck can you do with this tiny wrist computer? Sure, it pulls in notification from your phone and shows you Google Now cards, but you need some apps too. It can be a challenge to navigate the Play Store in search of the best watch apps, but we've been keeping a close eye on things. Here are the five apps every Android Wear device needs to have installed.

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Android mini-PC jumps on Cortex-A17 trend

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Android

Tronsmart has launched an $80-and-up “Orion R28″ mini-PC that runs Android 4.4 on a quad-core, Cortex-A17 Rockchip RK3188 SoC clocked at 1.8GHz.

Like Ugoos, Tronsmart has tapped Rockchip system-on-chips such as the quad-core, Cortex-A9 RK3188, which fuels its Android-ready Tronsmart T428 stick computer. Tronsmart’s latest mini-PC — the Orion R28 — advances to Rockchip’s quad-core RK3288 SoC, which uses the Cortex-A17 architecture, a faster, smaller, and more power efficient heir to the Cortex-A9. The SoC has already appeared in the Rikomagic MK902II and the Ugoos UT3 mini-PCs.

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Google plans multiple Android Wear updates as Apple's wearable looms

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Android
Google
Mac

Google's first update to Android Wear is coming this week, and several more will follow it before the end of the year as Google moves to quickly iterate on its new wearable software platform. In an interview with CNET, two leading Android engineers lay out what we should expect to see in some future updates. This first one sounds as though it may not be much — just some navigation and voice control improvements — but a few useful features are coming down the road. That includes Google officially beginning to support custom watch faces from third-party developers: some developers have already figured out how to build them, but Google is working on a toolkit for developers that will allow watch faces to easily be made. Google previously teased details of this in a Google+ post.

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Google's sub-$100 'Android One' devices said to be unveiled on September 15

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Android
Google

Devices will land in the sub-$100 price range, making them highly desirable in the emerging markets, not limited to Brazil, India, China, and Russia — so-called BRIC nations.

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Make Firefox for Android Yours: Switch Languages Easily, Customize Home Screens and Clear History

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Android
Moz/FF

Now, you can make Firefox for Android your own in any of 55 languages, regardless of the language you originally downloaded your favorite browser in. With the new language switching feature, you can easily choose between and set a language without restarting your browser. You can switch between all of the languages Firefox for Android offers regardless of the locales supported by your Android device. Today, we have added Armenian, Basque, Fulah, Icelandic, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh language support to the languages Firefox for Android offered before.

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Android 4.4 mini-PC packs 64-bit quad-core Atom punch

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Android

Minix is prepping a sub-$150 mini-PC running Android 4.4 on a quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F and featuring WiFi, Bluetooth, IR, Ethernet, and USB connectivity.

Intel’s Atom Z37x5 system-on-chip, the second generation of its 22nm Z3000 (Bay-Trail-T) family, is beginning to appear in Android- and Windows-ready tablets such as the Toshiba Excite Go, as well as a “Sharks Cove” single board computer from Intel and Microsoft. Now we’re starting to see mini-PCs built on the tablet-focused SoC. Last week Zotac unveiled a tiny Zbox P1320 Pico computer that ships with Windows 8.1, and now Minix is prepping a Minix “Neo Z64″ miniPC for those who would prefer to run Android 4.4.

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